Charlie Bravo Charter Founder and CEO René Banglesdorf provides company leadership and management from her work in a number of industries. She pulls marketing experience from the software, telecom, publishing and aviation industries, and her entrepenurial expertise comes from publishing, aviation and foodservice ventures.
René is the co-founder of a grassroots effort to evangelize business aviation to the business and policy decisions makers, with the full support of the National Business Aircraft Association. She also serves the aviation community on the advisory board of Sky Hope Network, a charitable organization that utilizes business aviation to meet help in times of natural disaster or life-threatening situations. She is a member of Women Presidents Organization, International Aviation Women's Association, and the National Business Aircraft Association.
2012 Austin American Statesman profile of Rene Banglesdorf: Link
A New Beginning
Charlie Bravo Charter began in early 2011 as a sister company to Charlie Bravo Aviation. We wanted to meet the growing need for a quality, hands-on charter consulting to help successful people and organizations reach more people through private aviation. Utilizing the same ethic and attitude as Charlie Bravo Aviation, our young company seeks to serve its clients with accurate information and advice.
Charlie Bravo Charter is an aircraft charter consultancy that helps successful companies and individuals reach more people through private aviation. Affirming Warren Buffett’s assertion, “you’re more likely to be on the same page if you’re in the same room,” clients who fly with Charlie Bravo are able to meet the multifaceted demands of modern enterprise.
In 2012, we were selected as the private aviation partner for the Formula 1 Circuit of the Americas event in Austin, TX. Charlie Bravo Charter arranged transportation for more than 1000 VIPs via helicopter to and from the racetrack.
Charlie Bravo's Banglesdorf Discusses Private Aircraft (Audio)
Rene Banglesdorf, chief executive officer at Charlie Bravo Aviation, says she sees a lot of demand for private aviation in emerging markets. Banglesdorf talks with Bloomberg's Pimm Fox and Vonnie Quinn on Bloomberg Radio's "Taking Stock."
Watch A Pit Crew Practice At Austin Formula 1
Friday in Texas, and we’re watching preliminary runs through the F1 Grand Prix track in the country 20 minutes from downtown Austin. Word from several drivers is it’s the slipperiest track they’ve seen–the fact that it’s brand-new, with no tire marks and completely unbroken, means it’ll be like an ice rink for the test drivers on it today.
Yesterday afternoon pit crews finalized assembly of the team cars and did practice runs for Sunday’s race (see the video above). The paddock and pits were relatively empty then. Today we have VIP guests and thousands of media scoping it all out–an even mix of cowboy-booted oil money and long-haired Europeans. They all seem to love each other; it’s an odd but somehow fitting pairing of the world’s motorsport moneyed elite.
On a helicopter ride this morning I spoke with Rene Banglesdorf, a blue-eyed redhead who owns a fleet of 18 helicopters. She’ll spend the weekend ferrying sheiks and celebrities and tycoons between the Embassy Suites hotel at city center and the track, for a cost of $645 roundtrip (the flight takes roughly 15 minutes each way). More than 1,000 people have bought tickets, she said.
“This is the first time we’ve done this, but we expect it to go very well,” she said. Her company, Charlie Bravo Charter, is one example of a local business that has partnered with the Circuit of the Americas, which is separate from Bernie Ecclestone’s Formula 1 empire.
The drivers themselves are anxious for the race. Speaking with them gives you a taste of their harried lives: They arrived from Dubai on Tuesday or Wednesday, do publicity on Thursday and Friday, run practice rounds Saturday, race Sunday, then fly to Brazil first thing Monday morning for the final race of the season. You get the sense they’re stressed and bored at the same time–being surrounded by publicists at all hours doesn’t make for much fun when you’re a 20-something Type-A male.
There is some relief, though. Many of them–Mexico‘s Sergio Perez, for one–jog the racetrack in the evenings after a long day of media. Others like the Australian Red Bull driver Mark Webber cycle it.
And there’s always Sixth Street, Austin’s main drag of restaurants and bars near the University of Texas. They won’t go crazy there these nights before the race, the Brazilian icon Bruno Senna told me, but they’ll certainly be out and about. He’s got a few steak places in mind that are crucial to try….
Charlie Bravo CEO René Banglesdorf Perfects the Art of Pushing Tin
How do you increase your sphere of influence — and make an impression that no one will forget? In just its first year of operation, Charlie Bravo Charter proved that nothing is out of reach by beating out several heavyweights to become the exclusive aviation charter service of the Circuit of the Americas. With a team of experts and a tenacious CEO, Charlie Bravo Charter will transport thousands of VIPs on over 30 helicopters to and from the premier Formula 1 race this November. Roundtrip flights will take only minutes between the track and several helistops around Austin, bypassing all automotive traffic and delivering patrons in style. On November 18th, in the middle of Texas, a helicopter will land at or depart from the Grand Prix every 60 seconds.
Now that's a big impression.
CEO René Banglesdorf is comfortable with a grand entrance. She became the first aircraft dealer to gain woman-owned business certification when starting Charlie Bravo Charter's sister company, Charlie Bravo Aviation, a few years ago. Charlie Bravo Aviation is now an industry leader in the purchase and sale of private aircraft. With a staff of trained aircraft specialists who can facilitate every aspect of aircraft transactions, Charlie Bravo Aviation truly lives up to the company's slogan, "We push tin."
But it's not just any tin. Charlie Bravo Aviation prides itself on finding the aircraft that best matches the customer's mission. From turbo prop to heavy jet, King Air to Gulfstream, Charlie Bravo knows their planes and helicopters inside and out and makes sure they can exceed the customer's every need. And with an international network, no private aircraft is out of reach.
Banglesdorf works tirelessly to keep her companies independently minded, drawing on a vast skill set that includes publishing, high-tech, and foodservice ventures. In her free time, she serves the community as a board member of both The Sky Hope Network, which mobilizes private aircraft to assist in disaster situations, and Phoenix Arising, an organization that provides aviation-oriented youth programs.
"I would never be satisfied working in just one aspect of the industry," she says. "To do my job effectively, I need a complete understanding, top to bottom, of how the aviation industry works and how it affects the lives of others. As the CEO of two businesses, I get to be involved in everything from presentation to implementation of our practices. In my volunteer service, I see firsthand how important aviation can be for building community and supporting the local economy."
An ardent supporter of the aviation industry, René is aligned with the No Plane No Gain advocacy group, where she extols the importance of business aviation as a competitive differentiator for companies both large and small. Want to make an impression of your own? Reach more people by being there. Charlie Bravo Charter and Charlie Bravo Aviation can get you where you need to go.
Locally owned business snags exclusive F1 Helicopter Charter Service
Updated Thursday, Jul 19 at 10:37 AM
GEORGETOWN, Texas --- A locally owned aviation business, one of the few female-owned in the industry, has been selected by Circuit of the Americas or C.O.T.A. as the sole helicopter charter service for clients going to and from the race track in Elroy, the site of Austin’s Formula 1.
“I'm very excited about the race. I'm very excited about providing helicopters and I sound like Tim Tebow saying excited too many times in the same sentence,” joked Rene Banglesdorf, owner of Charlie Bravo Aviation.
For $550.00 per person, per day, Charlie Bravo will courier F1 fans to and from the event.
Banglesdorf will charter anywhere from ten to twenty helicopters on F1 race day, depending on demand.
The business will pick up and drop off passengers from three area airports, San Marcos, Austin Bergstrom International Airport and Austin Executive.
“It takes about 3-minutes to get there from any one of those sites, between three and five minutes. There won't be any traffic waits,” added Banglesdorf.
The business owner told KVUE that members of the Red Bull and Ferrari Race Teams have already reserved spots on race day.
Charlie Bravo Charter set for F1 airlifts
AUSTIN (KXAN) - Circuit of The Americas has selected Charlie Bravo Charter as the venue’s official helicopter shuttle and private charter broker, it was announced Wednesday.
Charlie Bravo Charter is a female-owned-and-operated charter brokerage company based in Pflugerville that helps its customers find the most appropriate aircraft at the best value for charters needed worldwide.
Guests may use Charlie Bravo’s services for transportation to and from the venue during the 2012 Formula One U.S. Grand Prix, which takes place in November.
Additionally, Texas-based Henry Aviation will manage the on-site helistop operations at the new track being constructed east of Austin.
“Charlie Bravo Charter is a local Austin business that has quickly established itself as a leader in its industry,” said Circuit president Steve Sexton, “and Henry Aviation has the experience necessary to help us manage the high number of helicopter landings we’re expecting during premier motorsports events, such as the Formula 1 United States Grand Prix. We look forward to working with both companies to enhance the Formula 1™ experience and other events we bring to Circuit of The Americas.”
CoTA will have six helistops on site for public landings. Helicopter shuttles and private charters are a common alternative mode of transportation to and from F1 races worldwide, according to Sexton.
“We are thrilled to be the official partner for helicopter shuttle and private charters to Circuit of The Americas,” said Charlie Bravo Charter CEO Rene Banglesdorf. “The inaugural Formula 1 event will bring a unique, international demographic to the area, one that we have been working with for years. We look forward to contributing to the first race and making it a great experience for everyone involved.”
The company provides access to the world of charter through a proprietary database of more than 12,000 aircraft from 3,000-plus operators worldwide. Charlie Bravo Charter’s online flight management portal allows clients to enter trip requests, securely manage passenger manifests themselves and make ground transportation and catering requests directly to their itinerary, according to Banglesdorf . Henry Aviation is a heliport and helicopter services company with years of experience working with major motorsports venues, event operations groups, the Federal Aviation Administration and the Transportation Security Administration. Their work with NASCAR heliports has allowed them to gain valuable experience with the high activity levels associated with motorsports events.
F1 Fans About to Start Flying In
This weekend’s Formula 1 race is sold out, except for a few premium ticket packages. The weather forecast is looking better, with the chance of rain for Sunday’s race at 10 percent. And the fans are about to descend on Austin.
Downtown hotels, like the Four Seasons, say their lobbies are still full of the usual conservatively dressed businesspeople rather than festive race fans.
Austin-Bergstrom International Airport spokesman Jim Halbrook says the airport expects the most passenger traffic on Thursday, with 36,000 passengers coming and going. A crew of 70 volunteer hosts is set to meet arriving visitors at the airport baggage claim and help them get where they’re going.
And those flying in privately still have room to park their jets, although Halbrook says the airport has set up a reservation system.
“We’ve had 150 aircraft registered into this system already,” Halbrook said. “We do expect more. There’s a little more space out there. But the aircraft range in size greatly, from propeller-driven Cessnas to more of your business-style jets to really large charters such as 747s and 767s.”
Some smaller nearby airports expect private flights into their fields as well. Austin Executive Airport in Pflugerville expects more than 60 aircraft. Airports from Georgetown to San Marcos are all expecting F1 arrivals.
Once they’re here, some visitors will take to the skies again rather than fight traffic on the roads. Rene Banglesdorf owns Charlie Bravo, one of the charter companies that will shuttle fans out to the track by helicopter. She says she’s getting up to 20 calls per hour.
At this point, it may be too late to book your helicopter shuttle for race day. Banglesdorf says all of her Sunday flights are sold out, at around $600 per seat. She says most of her customers are putting it on expense accounts.
“A lot of our passengers are people who are entertaining business clients, and they want to make a good impression,” Banglesdorf said. “And spending a little more money, or a couple thousand dollars more, to make a great impression on somebody and close a million-dollar deal.”
Anyone using ABIA for commercial flights is advised to arrive two hours early. The airport is adding a temporary fourth security checkpoint, but with the F1 race coming close to the Thanksgiving holiday, the airport is sure to be busy.
Red carpet, choppers champagne greet Formula One in Texas
(Reuters) - Celebrities and well-heeled Formula One fans from around the world hit art shows, book signings, fashion shows and parties this weekend in the Texas capital that is hosting the first U.S. Grand Prix in five years.
The glittering off-track events to celebrate Sunday's Formula 1 race are a change of pace from the gritty, hip gatherings that typically accompany the city's well-known extravaganzas such as Austin City Limits Music Festival and the South by Southwest film, music and interactive festivals.
"The response has been extraordinary, surpassing even our most confident expectation," said Nicholas Frankl, who has produced Formula One parties in Monaco, Cannes, Abu Dhabi, Miami and London.
Frankl's bash at the downtown Ballet Austin complex, with ticket prices ranging to more than $9,000, featured gold-infused Comte de Mazeray bottles of champagne. New and vintage Lamborghinis lined the event's parking lot.
At the Full Tilt Fashion Show at the W Hotel, attendees paying $300 got a champagne and cocktail brunch, a see-and-be-seen red-carpet entrance and a show with designs by Hugo Boss, Versace and Austin designer Linda Asaf.
"It becomes like an intercultural exchange," said designer Paulo Moore, an Austin resident originally from Argentina who also has lived in Switzerland and Monaco. "I feel like I'm a citizen of the world and is opening this huge window so we can cater to and accommodate different people."
More than 100,000 spectators were expected to watch the race, according to the Austin American-Statesman, which also quoted a race official as saying some 120,000 tickets had been sold as of Thursday.
Frankl said three-quarters of the attendees were from out-of-town or international.
Circuit Of The Americas, which is hosting the Formula One U.S. Grand Prix, said celebrities expected to attend included filmmakers George Lucas and Ron Howard, actors Kyle Chandler, Luke Wilson, Patrick Dempsey and Matthew LeBlanc, musician Enrique Iglesias and former U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords and her husband, retired astronaut Mark Kelly.
Many VIP attendees were arriving by helicopter to the six helipads at the $400 million Circuit Of The Americas facility, arranged by Charlie Bravo Charter, whose owner said 500 flights were scheduled for the weekend.
Formula One legend Mario Andretti was one of those who arrived by helicopter. Andretti, 72, said although the track has the best design for spectators that he has seen, he doesn't expect a "big wow" from foreign visitors.
"The Formula One contingent is very used to being in the Taj Mahal," said Andretti, a Circuit Of The Americas ambassador. "Nothing is going to impress them." (Editing by Corrie MacLaggan, Ellen Wulfhorst, Doina Chiacu)
Profile: CEO René Banglesdorf
“Ninety six percent of those in aviation with a title of director or higher are male,” says Banglesdorf, CEO of Georgetown-based Charlie Bravo Aviation and sole owner of Charlie Bravo Charter. “If you add in everybody else, it’s more like 80 percent male.”
Her figures on overall industry employment are backed up by Women in Aviation International, a group that promotes and supports women in the aviation sector.
Atlanta, Ga.-born Banglesdorf, 42, doesn’t offer easy explanations for this asymmetry.
“Maybe men are more crazy about things with motors than women are,” she jokes. “That said, there aren’t barriers to women in aviation. It’s not discriminatory.”
To remedy the imbalance, Banglesdorf invests time with mentoring and education groups like Phoenix Arising Aviation Academy that promote a love of aviation and learning in an equal number of boys and girls, especially from disadvantaged schools.
Meanwhile, her young companies, which share the image of an enterprising woman imagined as nose art on a World War II bomber, are booming.
Partnering with husband Curt Banglesdorf, who heads up the sales campaigns, Charlie Bravo Aviation sold one plane in 2008, five in 2009, 16 in 2010 and 23 in 2011.
“All of these in years that otherwise weren’t great for general aviation,” says Rene Banglesdorf, whose red hair cascades down her dancer-like features. “The market is coming back now.”
The planes they’ve sold so far go for between $1 million and $33.5 million.
“Texas is a good place to sell planes,” she says. “But 70 percent of customers have at least one international partner. We sell worldwide.”
The daughter of a pension and retirement actuary and a nurse, Rene Banglesdorf moved at a young age to a suburb of Birmingham, Ala. A quiet and shy girl, she was fascinated with math and science.
“There were answers,” she says, repeating the elegant response often given by those who pursue science and math.
After moving to Columbus, Ohio, she switched directions to journalism, earning a summer internship at the Columbus Dispatch. There, she dived into human-interest stories.
“I found that people are more fascinating than science or math,” she says. “And I still find that to be the case today.”
She studied journalism at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio and met Curt Banglesdorf there. They married between her junior and senior years. Her math and engineering training paid off when she landed stories in a telecommunications billing magazine.
Then she woke up to the reality of a journalist’s pay, so she switched to marketing tech firms in San Francisco during the dot-com boom.
Meanwhile, Curt Banglesdorf was selling advertising, sometimes to the aviation industry. He began to meet people who sell planes.
That’s when the Banglesdorfs honed a pitch to corporate executives that works to this day.
“If you have a group of executives who need to go from one side of town to the other, are you going have them walk to the station, take a city bus to the depot, change buses and then walk three blocks to a meeting? Or are you going to put them in a car where they can talk privately and travel point to point?” Rene Banglesdorf says. “Once you start to factor in unproductive time, inefficient travel methods and a more frustrating quality of life, private aviation is more cost effective.”
What about the environmental impact? Banglesdorf points to a study from the International Civil Aviation Organization that concludes that business aviation contributes 0.04 percent of global emissions.
The couple, who live in the Cimarron Hills neighborhood, have raised two children. They put time in with groups like Sky Hope Network, which connects people with aircraft so they can donate flights to take people and materials to disaster sites less accessible by land. For instance, after the Haiti earthquake, the Georgetown-based group, founded by Robin Eissler, flew almost 900 missions, ferrying crucial material and personnel.
They treat planes the way others treat cars. General-aviation airports don’t deal with Homeland Security or the Transportation Security Administration, except for charters, which require passenger manifests. All file a flight plan with the Federal Aviation Administration if using instruments instead of flying visually.
“Otherwise, flying a private plane is like driving a car,” according to Rene Banglesdorf. “You don’t need permission.”
The couple meets their potential customers through Internet searches, trade shows or chambers of commerce.
“Sometimes we don’t meet our customer face to face,” she says. “Recently, we were the middle man in the sale of a Lear 45 from Greece to Ecuador.”
She returns to her general aviation argument, one that flies in the face of the public relations tangle, back when, in 2008, the Big Three auto CEOs flew to Washington, D.C., in corporate jets to ask for taxpayer money.
“It makes them more efficient,” she says. “It’s a different way of life. It also happens to cut down on restaurant and hotel bills and, believe it or not, office affairs. And a salesman can see, for instance, three customers in one day rather than one in three days.”
Journal Profile: CEO René Banglesdorf
As the CEO of Charlie Bravo Aviation, Rene Banglesdorf is among the 4 percent of women in the U.S. and Europe who hold a high-level position in the aviation industry. Her advice to women in male-dominated industries: be yourself.
She thought at first that she had to compromise her femininity, but over time she learned that the more she was true to herself and her gender, the more successful she became.
From the beginning, Banglesdorf’s life has not been very common. She was born in Atlanta in 1970 during a rare snowstorm. Perhaps because of her unusual life, she has some great stories, and has even written a few manuscripts. Her biggest unfulfilled dream is to get them published.
The red-haired mother of two has experienced what could be a subject for one of her supernatural thrillers. When asked if she has ever had a life or death experience, she flashed back to when she was 13 years old. She and a friend were on a large raft on Lake Erie that got pushed out too far by the wind. By the time they jumped off to swim to shore, it wasn’t visible anymore. Luckily, a rowboat pulled up out of nowhere and two men took them back to shore. When Banglesdorf and her friend turned around to thank them, no one was there.
Q & A:
What’s the biggest risk you’ve taken?
[My husband Curt and I] started Charlie Bravo Aviation in February 2008. We had no idea the economy was about to tank. It has been the biggest risk we’ve ever taken, but it’s had the biggest rewards.
How would your friends describe you?
High capacity, because I get things done.
Finish this sentence: My employees would describe me as ...
Involved – in almost every aspect of the business, in people lives, and in charitable causes such as the Phoenix Arising Aviation Academy, Launchpad: The Center for Hope and Building Dreams, and the Sky Hope Network.
Do you have any pets?
Two dogs – a crazy yellow lab named Buckeye and an American bulldog puppy named Brutus. Their idea of going for a walk is racing a golf cart for about three miles — and they don’t let me get off the cart because it would slow them down.
What is something that is always in your suitcase?
I never travel without a change of clothes handy in my carry-on, including a sweater for when I get cold, and both my laptop and iPad.
What do you like most about flying?
It shrinks the world and makes so many things and so many people accessible.
What are some of your hobbies?
I love reading and enjoy being outside boating, walking, sitting by the pool, etc.
What is your favorite food?
Graeter’s ice cream, which is made in Ohio.
What’s your favorite movie?
The Princess Bride.
What type of music do you like?
Country, but my favorite performer is Lenny Kravitz.
What was your first car?
A Plymouth Turismo, but I totaled it before the temporary tags came off. Then I got a Chevy Cavalier.
How did you earn your first dollar?
Babysitting, including for two younger sisters and a younger brother.
What do you like most about Austin?
The people are genuine.
What is the last book you read?
“Sun Stand Still” by Steven Furtick, a 30-year-old pastor from North Carolina.
Charter company hired for Grand Prix helicopter traffic
Formula 1 fanatics will have more than one way to get to the November race in Elroy.
On their recent trip to England to witness the British Grand Prix, Austin city leaders ran into one major problem on their first day overseas—traffic. Circuit of the Americas announced Wednesday that Georgetown-based Charlie Bravo Charters to handle charter flights and helicopter traffic to and from the race track.
The flight charter company expects to use about 20 helicopters to courier race fans from Austin Executive Airport and from San Marcos. Each trip should take about five minutes.
"Tons of crossover between us and the Formula One patron,” René Banglesdorf, Charlie Bravo Charters CEO, said. “A lot of our clients are coming in for the race, and it also gives us the opportunity to meet some new ones there."
Banglesdorf says commercial flights at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport will not be affected by the dozens of helicopters flying nearby.
"They're changing the flight patterns a little bit,” she said. “We've been working quite a bit with the FAA and with Austin Bergstrom tower."
A new hanger was recently opened at Austin Executive Airport due to increased private charter traffic.